Vania Barbato is a freelance illustrator living and studying Illustration at the academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, Italy. Initially self-taught, Vania is mostly inspired by horror B-movies, medical books and coffee…
What appeals to you, or attracts you to, working in pencil?
I like that pencil is erasable.
Are you right or left-handed?
What’s your favourite pencil? Brand? Wood? Mechanical?
I don’t have a favourite kind of pencil!
Other than pencil what materials do you enjoy using?
Pastels, acrylic paint and sometimes GIMP.
You use very limited colour in your work, and most of it is black and white. What do you like about working in monochrome?
When a work is made in black and white, you focus much more on the image itself, I think.
Your illustrations are mostly of humans but there are some animals as well… what do animals represent in your work? How do you view the tension between the animal and the human in your work?
I don’t know. In short, I just like the violence that is generated between humans and animals.
How do you approach a new piece… what is your starting point usually? Could you tell us a bit about your creative process, from the initial image or idea to the finished piece?
Usually I look at many different art books and then the idea comes to me but sometimes the initial idea doesn’t correspond with the final work.
How do you conceptualize a piece… Do you think of it as a story, snapshot, or abstraction?
All of the above: it depends on what I want to achieve.
What size do you tend to work at, and why this preference?
A5 or A4.
You’re currently studying illustration, are you enjoying the process? What is the most useful thing you’ve learned from studying illustration? Has your work changed over the course of your studies?
I think that the best thing about studying illustration is being able to share ideas and opinions with other students and teachers. And of course during these years of attending the course my art has changed very much.
Much of your work incorporates human form distorted to an almost unnatural form? Where does this tendency stem from and what do you find compelling about it?
I really don’t know!
Can you tell us about a favourite piece of yours, or a favourite creative experience?
My favourite experience was to be able to design an illustrated book all by myself.
Do you have any early memories of drawing or, what’s your first memory of an image?
When I was young I loved to draw carefree the things I watched on television!
What was the last film you saw in the cinema?
Repulsion by Roman Polanski.
And the books on your bedside table?
Coffee, nicotine, or booze?
Coffee and nicotine.
Favourite city in the world?
Favourite city to draw/sketch/illustrate/create in?
What directions are you interested in taking your illustration work in the future… what would be a dream illustration job for you?
I would like to design illustrated books.
What are you working on now? What can we look forward to from you next?
I’m trying to make a self-published zine, hopefully it will be ready in the next few months.
Where can people get a hold of your work, or find out more about your previous projects?
You can find my work on my Tumblr page: vaniabarbato.tumblr.com.
Vania Barabato’s work appears in Issue 3 of Tiny Pencil: The Beast Issue… Monsters, Machines and Unnatural Things! Available to buy here.
This interview was brought to you by The Tiny Pencil – fine purveyors of the pencil arts.